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image of francs (C. Jackson)

Here's What Your Latte Costs In A Currency That Doesn't Exist Anymore

by Jacob Goldstein
Dec 6, 2012

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Planet Money listener C. Jackson writes:

My family and I recently moved from the states to France and I've been noticing something odd on many of my purchase receipts: The price is listed in both Euro (which makes sense) and Franc (which doesn't exist anymore). I've included a recent ATM receipt ...

Turns out, our reporters had noticed this on trips to other eurozone countries, too. Is there some deep meaning hidden here about European identity and the future of the euro? Nah.

"I hadn't noticed that!" Ángel Berges Lobera, a Spanish banking consultant. People do still think in pesetas when they buy houses, he said, but for everything else, they think in euros.

Stores were required to print dual-currency receipts for a while after the euro was introduced. But that ended years ago, according to Lobera. "Maybe nobody wants to take the first step towards eliminating it," he said.

Charles Wyplosz, an economist who splits his time between Switzerland and France, was more direct.

"Old habits die hard," he wrote in an email. "Older people keep counting in their old currencies. And some younger people as well."

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